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OCMC News - SAMP Mission Field Feature: Indonesia

by Niko Birbilis (Posted 10/10/2018)

OCMC News - SAMP Mission Field Feature: Indonesia
October is Support a Mission Priest month. In Indonesia Orthodox clergy are starting Orthodox communities and trying to meet the needs of all Indonesian people. With your gift in support of the SAMP program you can help these priests continue their ministries.

To see the growth of the Church in action, one need only look to Indonesia. Though Orthodoxy’s presence there is relatively recent, its rapid development has been compared to that of the early Christians, who we read about in the Book of Acts.

Uniquely, Orthodoxy did not come to Indonesia through missionaries; the locals actually beat us to it! In the 1980's, a group of friends started seeking the church of the Apostles. Through their research, they eventually came upon His Grace Bishop Kallistos (Timothy) Ware’s book The Orthodox Church. Having discovered this ancient Church, those friends took it upon themselves to reach out to the closest Orthodox hierarch (at the time, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong), attend seminary, and return to help the Church in Indonesia grow.

Some of those young men studied in Greece, while others studied in the United States. Having completed their studies, they then traveled back to Indonesia, spread out throughout the country, and began their ministries.

With approximately 261 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world by population. It’s also the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, making up 87% of its population. Christians make up just under 10% of the population, and the Orthodox form a tiny percentage of that.

Despite being such a small minority, the Church continues to develop - and surprisingly quickly, considering they have largely done it on their own without much direct missionary support from abroad. And not only did the Indonesian priests establish their own parishes - but they are starting their own missions and continuing to spread the faith throughout their country. The Church in this corner of the world grew to the point that an additional metropolis was created. Today, the Church in Indonesia is shepherded by His Eminence Metropolitan Konstantinos of Singapore and South Asia.

OCMC’s involvement with Indonesia began with the Support a Mission Priest (SAMP) program, which provided financial assistance for those first Indonesian priests. The first mission team to Indonesia served in the city of Medan in 2015. Since then, teams have continued going every year to both Medan and Bali, and we’re hoping to explore new opportunities for involvement in the future. 7 Indonesian priests are currently sponsored by the SAMP program, and the relationship between the Orthodox there and in the United States continues to grow.

If you would like to directly participate in the development of the Church in Indonesia, please consider donating to SAMP to support their priests or taking part in a short-term mission team next year. Both will be a huge help for our Orthodox brothers and sisters abroad. God-willing, though the Church in Indonesia is still in its early stages, through the prayers and support of Orthodox Christians everywhere, we will be seeing a great deal of growth in the coming years!

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Prayer for Missions

God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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